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Firefighters go to San Juans

By Ann Butler Herald staff writer

Firefighters responded Friday afternoon to two fires started by lightning in the San Juan National Forest after afternoon thunderstorms. Both were single trees burning in remote areas, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release.

An engine crew hiked into the Helmet Fire in the Hogback area northeast of Mancos. This single tree fire was reported at 3:30 p.m. At 6:22 p.m., they announced the fire was contained.

Smokejumpers were hiking up a steep, rocky slope Friday evening to the Whitehead Fire two miles northeast of Molas Lake, where a single tree was reported to be burning on the edge of the Weminuche Wilderness above 11,000 feet elevation. Smoke was visible from U.S. Highway 550 on Molas Pass.

As of 8 p.m., the fire was still limited to the one tree.

“It’s burning in a rocky area,” public affairs specialist Ann Bond, of the San Juan National Forest, said.

Those who want to report a fire on public lands should call the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 385-1324 or call 911.

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